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Cruises to Southampton

Southampton (Photo:main: Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock)
Southampton (Photo:main: Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock)

About Southampton

Located on the south coast of England, Southampton served as the historic ocean liner gateway for the British Empire and the intense North Atlantic passenger trade to the U.S. and Canada. Today it is the U.K.'s - and indeed Europe's -- leading cruise port.

Best known as the homeport of Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Southampton now hosts a wide variety of cruise ships in the booming European cruise market with the principal lines being Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Saga Cruises.

For most cruise passengers, it's the first and/or last port on a European cruise or Atlantic crossing. But New York it ain't, and the first thing you see as you approach is not the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, but a giant IKEA.

A pleasant, bustling city of around a quarter of a million inhabitants, Southampton has several areas of interest, though much of its historic medieval character was destroyed during World War II. In 1620, the Mayflower left from just outside the existing city walls, and the waterfront recalls this historic voyage. From Mayflower Park, you can enjoy watching the container ships pass en route to and from the freight terminal beyond the Western Docks, cruise ships departing from three separate locations, and excursion boats and cross-harbor ferries flitting around the port.

Today, it is a modern shopping destination, business center and university town (the University of Southampton is a major British research university; among its well-known alumni is QM2 designer Stephen Payne with a large commercial port in addition to its year-round cruise operations.

It's not somewhere you want to hang around (unless you want to pick up some flat pack furniture), and most visiting cruise passengers will use Southampton as a gateway to nearby London (an hour and 10 minutes away by train). It is also a good starting point for the Isle of Wight (reachable by ferry) and the surrounding county of Hampshire and Wiltshire, with their numerous attractions.

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DAY 1: New York

15 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
King's Wharf, Ponta Delgada ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: New York

16 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Reykjavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Dublin, Liverpool ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
St. Peter Port, Cobh ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Halifax, Ponta Delgada ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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14 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Bayonne
Visiting:
Halifax, Qaqortoq ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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164 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Brugge, Amsterdam ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Belfast ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Edinburgh, Invergordon ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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16 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
New York
Visiting:
Halifax, Reykjavik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Tallinn, St. Petersburg ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Isle of Portland, Cobh ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Le Havre, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
La Rochelle-La Pallice, Bilbao ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Oslo, Copenhagen ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Gothenburg, Ronne ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Le Havre, Brugge ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Reykjavik
Visiting:
Isafjordur, Seydisfjordur ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Bilbao, Vigo ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Paris, Saint-Malo ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Gibraltar, Malaga ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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14 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Saint-Malo, Bordeaux ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Dublin, Belfast ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Southampton

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Bergen, Geiranger ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Why go to Southampton?

Pros:

Excellent Titanic Museum; historic center; minutes from beautiful countryside and Isle of Wight

Cons:

Southampton was bombed heavily in WWII and much of the city is blighted by ugly architecture

Bottom Line:

If you have just one day in the U.K. you are best off getting a train to London for the day rather than staying here

Southampton Cruise Port Facilities?

There is no reason to hang around the port area, and you can either walk (10 minutes) or jump in a cab (there are ranks outside each terminal) to the city center.

Good to Know?

If you come from the U.S. and land here for the first time, please remember that people drive on the left-hand side of the road in the U.K. When crossing the streets, it is always best to look both ways. Drivers have the right of way, and they take it unless you cross at a lined or "zebra" crossing.

Getting Around?

In Southampton: AutoEurope (800-223-5555) is a good first call. It represents a range of car rental agencies such as Avis and Hertz (and often offers better rates than the individual agencies). Hertz has a rental agency on West Quay Road and Southampton Central Station.

Between Southampton and London by train: Go to Southampton Central Station for Southwest Trains to London. You have the option of four departures an hour (some are direct to London; check timetables) with journey times of 70 to 90 minutes. To check schedules, visit Southwest Trains or National Rail Enquiries online. You can also call 0871 200-4950 for train timetable information. Fares are cheapest for departures after 10:00 a.m., so ask for a "cheap day single" (if you're not planning on coming back) or "day return" if you're planning on returning to the ship.

By bus: National Express coaches operate between Southampton's bus station and London's Victoria Coach Station, as well as between Southampton and the Central Bus Station at Heathrow Airport. Allow about 2.5 hours.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the British Pound; for current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. You will find ATMs at many bank branches. Banks usually take a commission from exchanging currency, while some travel agents and exchange offices advertise commission-free exchange. Check the rates as they can vary) Credit cards are widely accepted, but please note that many taxis do not take them.

Language?

This is England, so English, of course! But you'll hear many different accents by both native speakers and immigrants.

Where You're Docked?

Southampton has four widely separated cruise terminals. Two -- Ocean Terminal and QEII Terminal, accessible via gate 4 -- are located at the Eastern Docks, while the others -- Mayflower Terminal and City Terminal, accessible via gates 8, 10 or 20 -- can be found at the Western Docks. Both are about a five-minute taxi ride from the Southampton Central railway station, which is close to the city center.


Southampton Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Getaway
mSh311y
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Super walkable city very friendly people! First we walked to sea city museum which was really really cool Then we walked through Southampton town walls and Bargate next we had a pint at a pub named Juniper Berry.... Read More
MSC Grandiosa
LiftCruising
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We were going to London after our cruise so we didn't make the journey to get into the city. Instead we stayed in Southampton which has tons of charm. I had a tour set up to see St. Mary's stadium home of the... Read More
MSC Meraviglia
Rome Again
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Great City - MSC left little to be desired - did not mention that a free shuttle to and from Southampton was just outside the cruise terminal door- Kaos getting off the ship... Read More
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
JT1101
Sail Date: Dec 2019
I love Southampton.... Read More
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